The BC Lymphedema Association was born of the vision, passion and leadership of the founding members, committed to building awareness and advocating for people living with lymphedema.
2002 - Catherine DiCecca, an RMT and Dr Elliot Weiss, a physiatrist had informal discussions regarding the lack of resources for lymphedema patients and the number of patients who went undiagnosed.
2006 - Catherine brought together a team of three patients who were dedicated to providing education, resources and support to empower people living with lymphedema for an inaugural meeting in March 2006.
Founding Board members included: Deanna Trewin – President, Liza Aboud - Vice- President, Rayma Hagan -Treasurer, Lynn Holloway - Secretary, Catherine DiCecca and Annette Crocker - Members at large, with Dr. Elliott Weiss as Medical Advisor.
With guidance from the Alberta Lymphedema Association (ALA) and the Canadian Lymphedema Framework (CLF) the following were completed:
2006 (Jun): A logo, brochure, domain name & website platform were designed in time for the first Lymphedema Awareness & Networking Day (LAD).
2006 (Dec): Mission and Goal statements were established in readiness for the Incorporation of BCLA under the BC Societies Act.
2007 - Official launch and registration for charitable status.
2008 - Toll-free information line initiated.
Lymphedema Awareness & Education days (LED) became a standard & held in: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2018.
2017 - Administrative Assistant Paid position established,
- BC Government Proclamation of World Lymphedema Day, March 6, first application
2018 - Board enrolment reached capacity of 10, including representation of members from every health region across the province.
- Support Groups established
- Monthly newsletters to members established
- Professional resource directory published annually established
- Supported the initiation of the Lymphedema Garment fund managed by the Spirit of the North Healthcare foundation
2019 - UBC/VGH Lymphedema clinic fundraising campaign drive (ended 2021)
- Lymphedema Education card (e-version) sent to BC Doctors through their newsletter.
2020 – Advocacy Committee established, initial campaign asking Pharmacare for compression garment coverage.
- Celebrated 15-year anniversary and recognized founding members
2021 – Advocated via letter to BC Budget 2022 Review committee
- Initiated monthly online Education Seminars for members
2022 – Advocacy work continue with MSP, asking for healthcare coverage for initial diagnosis, treatment and education.
- Established new Fund Distribution Committee to provide awards to encourage more Lymphedema trained therapists
- Held Regional Education Workshops in Kelowna and Victoria
BC Lymphedema Association accomplishments have been significant, but the challenges faced: lack of awareness, non or misdiagnoses of the disease plus the lack of medically funded treatment, education and diagnostic testing continue to be the leading issues where BCLA directors focus their energy.